It is Jeff Kent’s tenth and last time on the ballot. He was on 32.7% of the Writers’ ballots last year. He was in the mid-teens until 2020, jumping to 27.5% and 32.4%.
I think he’s borderline deserving, but if he went into the Hall and Bonds didn’t, I’d chew off an arm.
Kent had an excellent 17-season career that started with the Blue Jays. We traded him to the Mets for David Cone in the middle of his rookie season. We can’t complain too much. We won the World Series that year, but he was pretty good for the Mets. They traded Jeff to Cleveland in the middle of the 1996 season. After that season, he was part of a big trade between Cleveland and the Giants. It was with the Giants he became a star. After San Francisco, he went to the Astros and Dodgers.
He played 2298 games, hit 377 home runs, and had 1518 RBI with a .290/.356/.500 slash line. Not bad for a middle infielder. He won the NL MVP in 2000, played on 5 All-Star teams, and won 4 Silver Slugger awards. He had more than 100 RBI 8 times (helped by opponents intentionally walking Barry Bonds).
His bWAR is 55.4.
His stats took a good leap forward in his age-30 season, his second year with the Giants. It could have been watching Bonds and seeing how to turn on a pitch. Before his age-30 season, he had 107 home runs. From age 30 on, 270. I don’t remember hearing rumours about PEDs, but he did play with Bonds, so he did see what they could do close up. Guys from that era who hit a lot of home runs in their 30s.....well, you tend to suspect stuff.
He didn’t get along with Bonds. Of course, many didn’t, but he didn’t have to be such a jerk about it. It seemed like his dislike of Bonds had much to do with jealousy.
Second basemen are underrepresented in the Hall of Fame because if they are good defensively, they tend to play on the other side of second. Kent has excellent offensive numbers for a middle infielder. My memory says he wasn’t a good glove, but that might be from watching him play for the Blue Jays early in his career. I think he was more of a third baseman who ended up second because that was the position of need.
He was also a contestant on Survivor.
You can see Kent’s stats here.
Would you vote Jeff Kent into the Baseball Hall of Fame?
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